3 Questions for Edmundo Castillo

Edmundo Castillo is back in the Big Apple — and he plans to keep it that way.

After spending several years in Europe working for Sergio Rossi and Santoni, the designer has again put down roots in New York via a new showroom space on 26th Street.

“I loved the idea of being in a building surrounded by creativity and beautiful things,” the designer said, adding that the space will double as a design studio. “I wanted a floating feeling so the floor is the color of the sky.”

For fall ’12, the designer — who is also creative director for Via Spiga — said the inspiration for his eponymous collection was “celebrating American classics,” which translated into saddle shoes set on a wedge, modern cowboy boots, a tuxedo slipper and Native American patchwork elements.

“Then it was a matter of twisting the proportions and making these inspirations more subtle,” Castillo added.

The designer also unveiled his plans for New York Fashion Week.

You relaunched your namesake collection for spring ’11. What feels different this time around?
Everything. Coming back to my brand after I stopped in 2004, I thought it would be a continuation of what I was doing then. But it’s different in terms of coming into a new set of economic conditions and a changed footwear market. I wasn’t doing ‘Edmundo Castillo’ at Santoni or Sergio Rossi; I was doing my take on their brands. There was very little space for fantasy and they wanted a little bit of everything out there. I had a little struggle at first [rediscovering the Edmundo Castillo signatures] since I have to do who I am now. But for spring ’12, I started feeling it, and for fall, I am really feeling it’s right.

Now that you’re back in New York, what are your plans for Fashion Week?
I worked with two New York designers to collaborate on shoes for their shows this season: Chadwick Bell and Suzanne Rae. They came together in different ways, but in both of their previous collections, I found the simplicity of classic American style but with a modern take. They were both new, talented and had a point of view, and we were playing on the same inspiration. It felt like everything made sense. We worked on their color palettes, but they found silhouettes that suited each aesthetic perfectly. I’ve always loved runway shows and when I worked at Donna Karan, we always had a creative dialogue about what the silhouette should be. So this was a very natural exercise.

Does collaborating with ready-to-wear designers make you want to branch out?
Never say never, but it’s not the time right now under my brand. For Via Spiga, I am designing outerwear, belts, sunglasses and handbags [for spring ’13]. [For Edmundo Castillo,] there’s a lot that could happen before clothes. But I love the idea of creating a world of accessories — bags, sunglasses, leather goods — along with the shoes. Accessories have a special type of excitement. As for the men’s collection, we tried bags with Casbia, but they are on hold. For men’s, we’re focused on the essential styles every guy needs in his closet. We’re keeping it simple since men’s is a different business. Women’s is all about excitement but men’s is about sitting back and studying before jumping in.

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